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University of Kordofan student slain in election violence

April 19 - 2016 EL OBEID
Faculty of Engineering student Abu Bakr Hashim, who was shot dead in Kordofan University in El Obeid on Tuesday 19 April 2016 (photo collected from social media)
Faculty of Engineering student Abu Bakr Hashim, who was shot dead in Kordofan University in El Obeid on Tuesday 19 April 2016 (photo collected from social media)

A student was shot and killed by other students at the University of Kordofan in El Obeid on Tuesday morning. Deans reported that more than 100 students went on a rampage in the campus, which has been ordered to be evacuated.

The presentation of the candidate lists for the student council election sparked a fight between two student movements at the university. It is the second consecutive year that the election at Kordofan University has ignited violence between students.

A witness told Radio Dabanga that students who support the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) fired at members of the United Students Opposition, who were on their way to deliver the election list to the university centre early in the morning.

Abu Bakr Hashim, who studied in the first level at the Faculty of Engineering, was shot in the head.

“More than 40 students were seriously injured, and two have been transferred to a hospital in Khartoum,” the student explained. “At least 20 students have been detained by the security service.”

Rival student groups

In a press statement today (below), the dean council of the University of Kordofan confirmed that Hashim was killed, and announced the suspension of all classes.

“The events started when a group of students, estimated at more than 250, broke into the centre of the university before 5am, under the pretext of handing-in their election list for the student council. The registration was scheduled to start at 9am,” the statement read.

The movement crossed paths with the rival student group and a clash erupted at the time of morning prayers, with the use of Kalashnikovs, pistols, stones, and sticks, the deans said.

Students subsequently arrived from three different directions, the statement continues, and broke down “a large part of the wall of the university, along with burning two vehicles and five motorcycles that belong to university guards”. The council did not explain how students broke down parts of the wall.

“The university administration requested a police intervention to protect the students and the property.”

Police forces in front of the University of Kordofan on 19 April (RD)

The council has decided to suspend all classes and close various university buildings for an indefinite period. It said to guide students to vacate all university sites and boarding facitities in coordination with the National Endowment Fund for Students.

Evacuated students gather

One year ago, at least 13 students were injured in fighting over the candidate lists for the student board election at the university. A witness reported that student members of the ruling NCP led the attack.

A student told Radio Dabanga today: “The student members of the NCP were the only ones armed. They opened fire to block the way of the United Students Opposition this morning.

“The situation in El Obeid is tense. Students have gathered in front of the hospital but the police has asked us to leave.”

Lawyer Osman Saleh from El Obeid that the government should investigate the killing of student Abu Bakr Hashim and the wounding of many other students on Tuesday.

He told Radio Dabanga that he demanded the release of the detained students and denounced the firing at students.

“The government should deal with students on an equal footing. Also, the university administration must play its role in providing the right environment for academic achievement.”

The statement by the council of deans of Kordofan University
19 April 2016

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